The Only Way To Peace
"BY THIS MEANS"
Part I: Is It Right To Insist?
by Father Nicholas Gruner, S.T.L., S.T.D. (Cand.)
The Fatima Crusader is sometimes asked: "Why do you seem to put all the onus for the Collegial Consecration on the bishops? These people seem to think that if the laity do their job, the bishops will do their own." We respond as follows:
The Fatima Crusader has already published and continues to publish that there are requests of Our Lady of Fatima directed to everybody — lay people, priests and bishops. Our Lady requested of all of us to pray the Rosary every day, to wear the scapular of Mount Carmel, to do our daily duty and to consecrate ourselves to Her Immaculate Heart.
Besides these requests there is also the very special and specific request that Our Lady directed precisely to the Pope and the bishops, namely that they on the same day consecrate specifically Russia to Her Immaculate Heart in a solemn and public way. They alone are commanded to do this since they are the only ones empowered by God to make such a public act of reparation and to solemnly and publicly consecrate a nation to God.
There is a tendency on the part of some lay people to say: "Let the bishops do their job, we don't have to do anything." Alternately, some bishops may say, "Let the lay people obey Our Lady, we need not do anything." The fact is that both are necessary.
In response to such reasoning the magazine Christ to the World, July-August 1983, p. 189, published with the approval of the Vicariate of Rome, points out: "The question of whether or not the collegial consecration of Russia should be preceded by a sufficient number of personal consecrations should not be made an excuse by either the Faithful or the bishops to postpone obedience to Mary, their common Mother and Queen."
Up to now the emphasis has been on the duty of individuals to obey the requests of Our Lady. There has been no emphasis, except by The Fatima Crusader, and a few smaller publications like Christ to the World, Approaches, etc., on the obligation of bishops to fulfill the commands of Our Lady.
Jesus Wants It Publicized
Therefore The Fatima Crusader has felt duty bound to emphasize this aspect of the Fatima Message both because it is so vitally important and because it has not received sufficient attention yet by many Catholic publications. We are encouraged in publishing about this by Jesus Himself.
Our Lord Himself has spoken about His bishops' obligations to obey and that they have chosen not to obey Him in this matter, and He has stated they will suffer very serious consequences in delaying this obedience. Furthermore, we know that Jesus wants His whole Church to know of the command to the Pope and the bishops.
We know this because in answer to Sister Lucy's question why He would not convert Russia without the Pope and the bishops consecrating Russia in the manner specified, Jesus said, "Because I want My whole Church to acknowledge that consecration as a triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary."
How are the lay people to know that the conversion of Russia is the result of the consecration of Russia if the promises and conditions given by Jesus are not known before the fact takes place? That is why it must be widely published that God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit have given this command to the Pope and bishops which was solemnly transmitted through Our Lady to Sister Lucy on June 13, 1929.
Sister Lucy, when She received this command was not only in the presence of Our Lady Who spoke in the name of God, Sister Lucy was also in the solemn presence of the Three Persons of the Most Holy Trinity.
Bishops Have Our Lives In Their Hands
The above should be sufficient to justify our publishing on this matter. We shall now proceed to answer more precisely the difficulty raised by some of our readers, noted at the beginning of this article.
By way of analogy, if a man is having an operation on his heart, the surgeon who holds the knife can in all truth be said to have the man's life in his hands. If the surgeon were to make a serious error, the man would die.
To state this fact is not a criticism of the doctor, it simply states the truth that the doctor has the very life of the patient in his hands. Similarly, when The Fatima Crusader says that world peace and the annihilation of nations depend on the bishops, it is a statement of fact, it is not a criticism.
Just as a surgeon holds the life of a patient in his hands when he is at the operating table, so the 4000 Catholic bishops, together with the Pope, hold in their hands the very life and existence of entire nations and world peace. That is the meaning of Our Lady's request and promise and predictions with regard to the consecration of Russia. But stating that is not a criticism, it is making plain the most important part of the Message of Fatima.
If some members of the hierarchy or even bishops should feel that this implies criticism, then it must be in response to a guilty conscience. The Fatima Crusader has not apportioned guilt. God knows who is guilty. Those who know the Message of Fatima, and choose to ignore it, are accountable before God, but it is not for us to judge subjective guilt. We are simply pointing out objective facts.
General Public Does Not Know This Urgent Necessity
Those in the work of propagating the Message of Fatima who deliberately conceal from the bishops and the Pope this very simple and most important fact about the consecration of Russia, in effect are despising this command of God. If the consecration of Russia as commanded by Our Lady of Fatima is not done in time, then Our Lady has told us very clearly: "Various nations will be annihilated."
Those who know that the existence of various nations and the salvation of many souls hangs in the balance, and yet deliberately obstruct this consecration are guilty of a very serious crime against humanity.
Many bishops to this day do not know about the urgent necessity to consecrate Russia immediately. They do not know:
(1) That world peace and the literal existence of various nations depends on it.
(2) That millions will die if it is delayed much longer.
(3) That the salvation of many souls depends on it.
(4) That we here in the "free" world will be overcome and enslaved by Communist Russia if it is not done in time.
The Pope Needs Truth Published Widely
The Pope needs the cooperation and support of the bishops in order to obey Our Lady of Fatima. But as long as the bishops are lied to or misinformed about the consecration of Russia, they will not support the Pope. They will not even know the Pope needs it.
Furthermore, the bishops in turn need to be encouraged and supported by the laity and by their priests to carry out this command. But how can this be done if the people and priests are misled into thinking that it is already done — or that it is not essential?
Thus, those who tell such untruths thereby misleading the bishops, lay people and priests, even if they are sincere in their mistake, still obstruct world peace and the saving of millions and millions of lives and souls.
If they tell these lies knowingly then indeed they must be guilty of a great crime against humanity. This is because by their silence and by their connivance they have not let the people and the bishops know what is the command of God, thereby causing the annihilation of nations.
We who are chosen by Providence to study and propagate the Message bear a tremendous responsibility. Up to now this clear command of God is not sufficiently known to the general public. Furthermore, the bishops do not know the consequences of ignoring this command, therefore we must continue to tell them.
Rather than criticizing The Fatima Crusader for doing its duty, our opponents should be thankful and should be helping us instead of preventing people from spreading The Fatima Crusader, because it says the truth plainly.
Priests and publishers of other Fatima magazines and Catholic magazines should be helping by all the means at their disposal to make these facts widely known. On judgment day, they may well have a grave responsibility before God for not doing their part to make this Message and its urgent significance known.
The Fatima Crusader has pointed out that it has been over 58 years since Our Lady said, "The moment has now come for God to ask the Holy Father, in union with all the bishops of the world, to make the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart." In 1917 Our Lady said that She would come to ask for the consecration of Russia and in 1929, 12 years later, She came back and said, "The moment has now come."
Certainly waiting 58 years has been contrary to God's Will. The Message of Fatima speaks of four punishments which would befall the world namely war, famine, persecution of the Church and persecution of the Holy Father if Her requests were not granted. Our Lady said that to avoid these punishments She would come back to ask for the consecration of Russia.
Furthermore, She told us that God would give a Great Sign to let us know that these punishments were about to befall mankind. Because the request of Our Lady of Fatima was not obeyed in the year 1929 or in the years following, in 1938 God gave us a Great Sign seen by millions of people in Europe, North Africa and North America, to let us know that the chastisement was at hand.
Had the consecration of Russia been done between 1929 and 1938, then Russia would have been converted and these punishments would not have befallen us. Since that time, as we have pointed out in our magazine, things have gotten worse, not better, and they will get worse still until this command of God is obeyed.
It is our duty to point out these things. If there has been and continues to be subjective culpability in those who misinform the public and delay obedience, it is for God to decide. But for us to conceal the truth would make us culpable of continuing to see that this command of God is not obeyed.
Those who criticized us before for making this so clear should realize that they may be called to account by God for their criticism should they continue to obstruct this Message from being widely diffused. The same is true for those who, now being informed, continue in any way to obstruct the Pope and the bishops' obedience to this command.
Let us recall those prophetic words of Pope Pius XI in his Encyclical "Divini Redemptoris" which particularly speaks of our time." There are some even who refer to certain changes recently introduced into Soviet legislation as a proof that Communism is about to abandon its program of war against God. See to it venerable brethren, that the faithful do not allow themselves to be deceived. Communism is intrinsically evil."
Truly the Communists have made great strides with their propaganda war. As Pope Pius XI warned, the Communists would try to worm their way into Catholic publications. Today you can even read Catholic newspapers and periodicals that trumpet out the Soviet line and sad to say even publications that are supposed to be spreading Our Lady of Fatima's Message are in reality spreading Russia's errors.
In Response To The Second Question
An objection raised against The Fatima Crusader is that we should be telling the people to pray for the bishops, not putting all the onus on the bishops. It is unfortunate that those who make this objection did not read the Special Supplement Page S-2, where we have in large letters the words of Our Lady:
Sacrifice yourselves for this intention and pray, and immediately following, The Pope and the bishops need your help, and in large letters also, "To help the Pope and bishops we must pray the Rosary, wear the Scapular, amend our lives, and make reparation to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart."
Again on page 3, over half a page deals with making a spiritual bouquet for the Holy Father, and we printed in large letters the words of Jesus to Sister Lucy: "Pray, pray a great deal for the Holy Father. He will do it, but it will be late." If other journalists can emphasize the truth of the matter better than we have, then by all means let them do so, but so far no one has said it as clearly.
A Third Difficulty Raised By Some
A third difficulty raised by some is as follows: We should not be putting political pressure on the bishops to force them to make this act of consecration.
We have explained at length in several issues that the laity do have rights, and all members of the Catholic Church have the right and sometimes even the obligation (See Vatican II LG No. 37) to petition the Holy Father in matters pertaining to ecclesiastical jurisdiction. It is solemnly defined by the Second Council of Lyons, as well as the First Vatican Council, that each member of the Catholic Church has the right to seek a ruling from the Holy Father regarding matters pertaining to Church jurisdiction. And certainly Fatima is such a matter.
As the 5th Lateran Council tells us, the Pope is the judge with regard to prophetic revelations. Now the Message of Fatima is a prophetic revelation approved by the Pope and the Church. It states clearly that peace will only be given to the world when the Pope and the bishops obey the Command of God.
The Duty Of Pope, Bishops And Us
Therefore the Pope and the bishops have a duty to God and a duty to all of us to obey promptly. As long as they delay, we are in danger of losing our lives, our freedom and more importantly, our souls through religious persecution, under the heel of Russian Communist domination.
Since this is their duty, we have a right to ask the Pope to command the bishops. If we have the right, we have the duty to use that right, at least those of us who are informed and know these facts. We exercise this right by respectfully bringing these matters to the attention of the Holy Father. Nothing could be more important for him to attend to than obeying Our Lady of Fatima exactly in consecrating Russia.
The present Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, would like nothing better than to fulfill this command of God, given through Our Lady of Fatima. It is only because of the tremendous pressure exerted by Soviet Russia as well as by pressure from some within the Church that he has not yet commanded the bishops. If he knew that he had the unqualified support of Catholics he would not hesitate in giving this command.
It is our duty to help him by publishing the truth about this message of Our Lady of Fatima, by answering objections, by circulating petitions and by bringing these petitions by the millions to the Holy Father through channels that we can trust. This, The Fatima Crusader has been doing and will continue to do.
Tragic Consequences Of Further Delay
Without any doubt, the Fatima Message as is published in Sister Lucy's memoirs and letters, and in other undisputed sources, states clearly that Russia must be consecrated by the Pope and the bishops before Russia is converted and peace given to the world.
The consequence of this delay is that many souls are lost for all eternity. Already in a letter of July 15, 1940, Sister Lucy had said the same thing: "I am really sorry that it (the consecration of Russia) was not done. In the meantime so many souls are being lost!" Our Lady of Fatima said, "If My requests are granted many souls will be saved."
Pure and simple logic compels us to say that either this solemn command given to the Pope and the bishops was given by God through Our Lady of Fatima on June 13, 1929, or it was not. If the command was given then they must obey.
Furthermore, simple logic forces us to acknowledge that God has told us through the Fatima Message, that the peace of the world and continued existence of various nations is dependent upon the obedience of the Pope and the bishops to this command, or it isn't.
Our Lady's Words Are Clear
The meaning of Our Lady's words is clear, namely, that if this command to consecrate Russia is not obeyed in time, various nations will be ANNIHILATED, that is, wiped off the face of the earth. The Church has approved the Fatima Message, and is therefore bound to obey it. That means that the Pope and the bishops are also gravely bound to obey the command given to them. This is the obvious meaning of Our Lady's words and it is the conclusion of various Fatima scholars.
If these conclusions are not true, if the Message of Fatima teaches something contrary to these conclusions, we have a right to know by a public, official, magisterial ruling from the Pope. In other words, if this is not the proper interpretation of the Message, we have a right to a ruling from the Pope.
Unique Position Of Pope
The Pope cannot not be responsible. By the very nature of the Church as founded by Jesus Christ, the Pope, after God, has supreme authority, and therefore he also has supreme responsibility.
This responsibility binds him to command the bishops, since the good of the whole Church is at stake, and he is the only one who has this power from God to apply the healing remedy. We therefore have the right and even the obligation to ask the Pope to do his duty to command the bishops to consecrate Russia.
The Pope Is Like A Doctor
When you go to a doctor you have a right to ask him to do his best to make you well and save your life. He is personally responsible for the professional work that he does for you, whether it be advice, or a prescription, or surgery.
If the doctor has diagnosed the illness and knows the cure, and is able to apply the remedy, he is duty bound to give the remedy needed. This is clear. Similarly the Pope, by approving the Fatima Message, has diagnosed the illness of the world and knows its cure — which is to consecrate Russia. The Pope, like the doctor, when he has it in his power, is bound to give us the cure which is to command the bishops to join him in consecrating Russia in the manner specified by Our Lady of Fatima.
You have a right to expect that your lawyer will counsel advice and represent you according to the law of God and your best interests. If your lawyer does not have your interests at heart he must not accept the responsibility of representing you.
Priest Obligated To Parishioners
Similarly the parish priest is responsible not only to God but also to the souls who have been entrusted to him. It is a strict obligation in justice for him to help them save their souls. Thus for example a parish priest cannot refuse the sacraments to a member of his parish who reasonably asks for them. To do so would be a gross dereliction of duty.
Although the priest has a higher position than the lay people, the laity nevertheless have a right given to them by God to receive from their parish priest both true Doctrine and the Sacraments because both are necessary to save their souls. The same is true for the bishop and for that matter the Pope as well.
Bishops Assume Responsibility
To illustrate this further let us consider that when a doctor (or a lawyer) accepts a person as a client he automatically assumes personal responsibility of taking care of his client's interests. So too, when a priest accepts the job of parish priest, he assumes personal responsibility towards all his parishioners to do all his duties so that the souls entrusted to him will be saved.
Similarly when a bishop accepts charge of a diocese and when a bishop accepts to be Pope - he too assumes personal responsibility, not only to God but also he accepts personal responsibility to each and every soul entrusted to his care that he will do his duty towards them.
As we have pointed out many times in The Fatima Crusader, the Pope and the bishops must obey this command of God to solemnly and publicly on the same day consecrate specifically Russia to the Immaculate Heart. It is their grave duty to obey God in this matter. Furthermore, it is not only their duty to God but also it is their duty to each one of us to consecrate Russia.
We Must Ask Them
That being the case, we have a right to ask for this respectfully and even to use the means in our power to constrain them if possible into doing their duty.
In doing this we must be careful not to overstep the limits of the rights given to us by God. We cannot command the bishops. We cannot command the Pope. We cannot sit in a court of civil or ecclesiastical law and judge them as if we were their superiors, but we can use the means and the rights that God has given us and which He expects us to use if circumstances warrant it.
The Church is the patrimony of all its members. We have different roles to play but all have a responsibility for the Church. It does not belong to this writer or you or the parish priest or the bishop or the Pope. It is God's. The Church has been entrusted to us to safeguard.
This is especially true of all of us who have received the Holy Ghost by the great Sacrament of Confirmation. We are called upon to be soldiers for Christ.
Obligation To Publish Fatima Command
As Sacred Scripture tells us, some are apostles, others preachers, others prophets, etc. and others are lay people. But all are responsible for the well-being of the Church. All are bound to uphold the common good by speaking the truth, publishing it and defending it according to our ability and opportunity. Publishing the truth is not the exclusive responsibility of any one group in the Church but of all of us.
It is not then just out of self-interest that we proclaim the Message of Fatima in its fullness. It is to save the Church that we do so. You too have an obligation to support our efforts and to multiply them by passing on this most urgent news now before it is too late for millions of souls.
Laity Have God Given Means
Cardinal Gagnon stated clearly in a public interview published in the Wanderer in September 1983, that lay people have it in their power to force the bishops and priests to obey the Pope. What are these means lay people have? He recommends openly and explicitly that the lay people are to refrain from contributing in the collection basket on Sunday to those bishops and priests who do not obey the Pope in such a matter as, for example, First Confession before First Communion.
If Cardinal Gagnon can tell us to force the bishops to obey the Pope by refraining to contribute to the support of the bishops until they obey (just as you would not pay your lawyer if he does not represent you properly) so you have it in your power to withdraw material support from your bishops when they do not do their job.
That is a tool that God has given to the laity. It is not a tool of jurisdiction, that is, we cannot command them to do something, but we can withdraw our material support if they don't do their duty.
We Must Use All The Means
Therefore, it seems reasonable that since our freedom, our peace, our children, our property… will all be taken away from us should we be put under Communist rule, endangering the salvation of our souls, certainly we have a right and even an obligation to use the means that God has given us in order to cause the bishops to consecrate Russia. If Russia is not consecrated in time, the Message of Fatima states clearly and explicitly that indeed Russia will conquer us all.
Of course we must also pray for the bishops and in the course of our own lives we must obey Our Lady of Fatima and spread the Message as it pertains to all our friends and neighbors. But doing these things does not exclude our responsibility given to us to do what we can to see that the bishops do their duty in consecrating Russia. There is nothing more important for the salvation of souls, peace of the world, and survival of various nations, than that the Pope and the bishops obey this command of God immediately.
In Response To A Fourth Question, Priests Are Members Of Hierarchy
Another difficulty for some is that there seems to be no members of the hierarchy who openly take personal responsibility for what is published.
We answer that The Fatima Crusader is under the direction of three members of the hierarchy, namely three Catholic priests. To those who do not know that priests are members of the hierarchy we remind them that priests have received what the liturgical books call the second rank of the priesthood, implying that there is a first rank which is that of the bishop.
By second rank, priests are also members of the hierarchy. Although the jurisdiction of a priest is in some things dependent on that of his bishop, it is nevertheless true that priests have a hierarchical role within the Catholic Church which cannot be swallowed up either by the bishops or by the laity.
The priest is personally responsible to God as well as to the people he serves for the sacraments which he personally administers and for what he teaches.
For example, Padre Pio refused to comply when he was asked by his religious superior to whom he was always obedient, to stop hearing Confessions of his regular penitents every week in order to hear them only every second week. The Superior had a good reason, namely, to relieve those penitents who had come from overseas and sometimes waited up to 17 days before going to Padre Pio for Confession.
The Superior thought that by lessening Padre Pio's Confessions with the regular local penitents that the waiting period of the overseas people would be somewhat lessened. Certainly it was inspired by charity. But Padre Pio, obedient though he was, rejected this suggestion. He did so because he was personally responsible for the sanctification and salvation of the souls of his regular penitents. They had a right to have their Confessions heard by him once a week. Thus Padre Pio, out of obedience to God and to fulfill his duty to his regular penitents had to refuse his superior.
Similarly, when St. Pius X was a parish priest, he was commanded by his bishop to stop preaching on a certain subject. He asked respectfully for the bishop to put his order in writing. Canon law provided then and natural law provides that every superior be willing to take personal responsibility for every order that he gives. To insure accountability the subject has a right for the matter to become a matter of public record.
Thus Pius X asked his bishop to give his order in writing, so that should the parish priest be asked, or even wish to let it be known, he could point to the signed document of the bishop. The bishop, not wishing to take personal responsibility for the order refused to give a written order to his inferior. So the parish priest, Father Joseph Sarto, (who later became St. Pius X), answered him and said, "Very well, I will continue preaching what I have been preaching." And he did so.
Priests Must Loudly Proclaim The Truth
All of the Catholic faithful and even more so, all Catholic priests, have an obligation to the common good by speaking and by exhorting their fellow Catholics to live according to the truth of God. No one, not even a bishop, has the right to obstruct the truth about what God expects of individuals or even members of the hierarchy from being known.
Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. He has not given jurisdiction to any member of the hierarchy to obstruct the truth from becoming known, especially if this truth be useful and necessary for salvation. Now since God has gone to such trouble, so to speak, and has worked wonders of grace and tremendous miracles to make known the Fatima requests, certainly He wants us to make known the whole truth to all mankind.
No Permission Needed To Proclaim Fatima Message
So it is not necessary that there be a bishop who publicly endorses the Message of Fatima. It has already been endorsed by five Popes. For you to tell the Message of Fatima to your neighbor, you do not need an explicit letter or document endorsing your personal apostolate of speaking about Fatima, and passing on this Message in written form. Nor do three priests and all you supporters need to get the explicit endorsement of a bishop before we can speak, exhort and teach the general public about the Message of Fatima and its urgency and importance. As a matter of fact, there are a number of good bishops who support and encourage us in our work of publishing The Fatima Crusader. It is more important that we tell the truth of the Message of Our Lady of Fatima than to have the worthless endorsement of some members of the hierarchy who, through ignorance or weakness (or malice) pervert the Message of Fatima.
A few years ago there was a bishop who suggested in print in another magazine that Our Lady did not really want us to pray in public for the conversion of Russia. Father Joseph de Ste. Marie told us that there is yet another bishop who goes around the world saying that the consecration has been done, when it is evident that it has not been.
As a result of his misinformation and deceiving the people (whether deliberately or not) the consecration of Russia according to the command of Our Lady and the Most Holy Trinity has been set back.
We at The Fatima Crusader prefer not to have the endorsement of bishops like the above two examples for our magazine. We think the truth is more important.